Examining the determinants and impact of Asian vegetable production: a case study on the livelihoods of Ghanaian smallholders

Field, Sean
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University of Guelph

This thesis examines the likely determinants and impact of smallholder participation in Asian vegetable production; Ghana is the case study country used for the analysis. Ghana was chosen because it has a relatively large population of smallholder farmers and is a relative new entrant into the Asian vegetable export market. This study adopts an agricultural household expected utility model as the theoretical foundation for the thesis and compares current Asian vegetable growers with disadopters and producers who never adopted using probit regression and propensity score matching. This study finds that the transaction costs associated with marketing Asian vegetables in Ghana may be too high to solicit wide spread smallholder adoption. This study also finds that while participation in Asian vegetable production may lead to higher farm income for some smallholders, participation in Asian vegetable production does not have an appreciable impact on total household income. The importance of these findings is that they suggest smallholder participation in middle tier higher value supply chains may result in little net income benefit among participants, which calls into question intervention strategies that endeavour to increase smallholder participation in these chains.

smallholder participation, smallholder farmers, Asian vegetable production, Ghana, agricultural household expected utility model, transaction cost, marketing, supply chains